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Agudas Israel Leader Attacks Decision of Jewish Agency Not to Attend London Conference

January 20, 1947
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A sharp attack on the decision of the Jewish Agency not to participate in the London Conference on Palestine was made today by H,A. Goodman, political secretary of the Agudas Israel, during a debate at a meeting of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Goodman challenged the right of the Agency to speak on behalf of all the Jewish people in matters relating to Palestine, and said that he believed a grave mistake was being made by Zionist leaders in refusing to attend the London talks. If Jewish representatives had attanded the conference when its first session was hold last Summer, “the position of the Jews today could not be much worse, and might be much better,” he added.

The Agudas Israel spokesman urged that all offorts be concentrated on securing the admission into Palestine of 100,000 displeced Jews, while political questions such as partition were postponed. He asked why Zionist leaders had not stated more clearly under what conditions they would agres to join the London parley, and accused Prof. Selig Brodetsky, president of the Board of Deputies of and a member of the Jewish Agency executive, of joining with David Ben Gurion and Moshe Shertok in “negotiating with the government behind the backs of the Jewish people.”

Replying, Prof. Brodetsky said that he felt that since the Agency was not participating in the conference, no further steps in the matter should be taken by other Jewish organizations. Neville Laski, a former president of the Board, expressed the hope that there would be consultations between the Agency and British-Jewish bodies on the question of attendance at the conference.


Virtually every important London paper had some comment or prediction this week-end on the Palestine situation on the eve of the opening of the conference. They ranged from a prediction that the government will propose partition to a forecast that the conference will accomplish nothing decisive.

The diplomatic correspondent of the Sunday Times declares that the government has now reached a final decision on long-term policy for Palestine. Well defined proposals will be submitted to Arabs and Jews at the London conference, he said, adding that it is expected that the meeting will decide the fate of Palestine. He states that it is probable that the government proposals will be based on a partition scheme, although the exact distribution of areas and certain political aspects involved in partition may not be definitely formulated, thus offering “room for constructive suggestions” which may emerge from the talks. The government, however, is determined not to temporize any longer, the correspondent writes.

The political correspondent of the Sunday paper, News of the World, believes the government will inform the delegates at the conference that unless an agreement between Aras and Jews can be swiftly reached, Britain will impose and put into operation her own plan, taking all necessary steps in order to ensure its being carried out. This plan includes partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish provinces and government-controlled immigration, News of the World reports.

The London Times said yesterday that there is no likelihood that American observers will attend the conference. It also stated that the Morrison-Grady “federalization plan” was “dead” in all but a technical sense and that there is only a faint hope that the Arab plan will be acceptable since it provides for the continuation of the White Paper policy.

The liberal Manchester Guardian reported that the first item on the agenda of the Palestine parley will probably be the Palestine Arabs’ modification of the previously-proposed Arab League plan. Stating that all quarters expect that parallel talks will be held with the Zionists, the Guardian forecasts that all Jewish groups will follow the lead of the Jewish Agency.

The influential London Econmist predicted that the British will advance a new solution at the parley, but in the same report, hedged with another forecast that the government is likely to submit the entire matter to the United Nations.

The Labor Government faces a barrage of critical questions next week when Parliament reconvenes. A number of Conservatives and one member of the Liberal Party have already submitted questions demanding that the government give detailed statements on its Palestine policy. Other questions to be answered include requests for information on the flogging of British troops, detailed lists of British subjects killed and measures taken to protect British lives and property. A demand has also been made for a Parliamentary committee to visit Palestine.

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